In the period 1930-40, the Depression had a major impact on the game of baseball. Many teams were nearing bankruptcy with attendance dwindling and fan interest at its lowest ebb. The owners... See full summary »



Watch Now

From $1.99 (SD) on Amazon Video



Add Image Add an image

Do you have any images for this title?



Episode credited cast:
Grover Cleveland Alexander ...
Himself (archive footage)
Roger Angell ...
Various (voice)
Red Barber ...
Various (voice)
Roy Campanella ...
Himself (archive footage)
John Chancellor ...
Narrator (voice)
Mickey Cochrane ...
Himself (archive footage)
Eddie Collins ...
Himself (archive footage)
Robert W. Creamer ...
Himself (as Robert Creamer)
Various (voice)
Dizzy Dean ...
Himself (archive footage)
Himself (archive footage)
Leo Durocher ...
Himself (archive footage)


In the period 1930-40, the Depression had a major impact on the game of baseball. Many teams were nearing bankruptcy with attendance dwindling and fan interest at its lowest ebb. The owners introduced many innovations in an attempt to revive interest and attendance including the All Star game. Night games were introduced in 1935 and the Hall of Fame opened in Cooperstown in 1939 on the mythical 100th anniversary of creation of the game. The sport still provided its heroes however. Babe Ruth was larger than life and in 1930 signed an $80,000 a year contract; his teammate Lou Gehrig had become the best hitter in the AL. Barnstorming black teams played white teams regularly and had an entertaining pre-game warm-up routine dubbed shadow ball. The Negro leagues came into its own and drew huge crowds. It had its own stars such as Satchel Paige, one of the greatest pitchers in all of baseball, and catcher Josh Gibson it's greatest hitter. By the end of the decade, the Babe's career was over,... Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




Release Date:

22 September 1994 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


See  »

Did You Know?


Song of the Islands
Performed by Lester Young with Count Basie and His Orchestra
Courtesy of EPIC Records
By arrangement with Sony Music Licensing
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Great Look at a Sadly Forgotten League
13 June 2012 | by (Louisville, KY) – See all my reviews

Baseball: Fifth Inning 'Shadow Ball' (1994)

**** (out of 4)

The fifth episode from the Ken Burns series takes a look from 1930 to 1939. Within the decade we'd see a wide range of topics including Babe Ruth's career coming to an end, the rise of Lou Gerrig's historic streak but then his early retirement due to health issues, the Negro Leagues continue to gain power while the Depression is killing MLB's attendance, the first All-Star game, MLB's first night game, the creation of the Hall of Fame and the infamous World Series game between the Yankees and Cubs, which featured Ruth possibly calling his shot. Some of the players discussed include Jimmy Foxx, Satchel Paige, Josh Gibson, Dizzy Dean, Mel Ott, Carl Hubbell, Bob Feller, Joe DiMaggio and Hank Greenberg. This fifth episode proved to be another terrific documentary that perfectly captured the spirit of the game during this era as well as shining a spotlight on the many issues including the race issue as well as many Americans being out of work and unable to pay to get into games. I think the most interesting discussion here comes from the Negro Leagues as we hear from actual players as they discuss playing four games a day, not being able to take showers in certain stadiums and you just get a great feel for what they went through and how it was different than MLB. The talk about Ruth's final years were also very entertaining including his final game where he hit three home runs and his heartbreak of not getting to manage the Yankees. Fans of the game will certainly love hearing all of these stories and as usual we're treated to some wonderful photographs but also a lot of video of these legendary names.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: